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New audiophile, looking for desktop amp system

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

 Title is terrible, and misleading, and I am probably posting in the wrong forum, I apologize in advance for this.  Many of you might remember me as a long-time TPU member, so Hi!

 

Anyway, as a computer guy who lives in a town without a Fry's or Microcenter, I like to browse Best Buy sometimes.  As I wondered into the back where the audio equipment resides, I came upon some of the most glorious looking tube-amplifier stereo systems.  The sound on these were profound, with warm tones and no distortion even on high volumes.  These boxes were terribly expensive, going all the way up to a thousand dollars, sometimes more.

 

My question to Head-Fi and it's denizens is where should I go shopping for a small tube-amp system that I can sit on my desk at work.  I would like the system to be between $50 and $175 (entry level), be fairly small in size (though size is not a priority) and have an aux 3.5mm (the more input types the better).  I would like the system to both be an amp and its own output (speakers), and although it probably is out of my price range, an optional amplified headphone out would be great.  I am also very comfortable buying second-hand.

 

Thank you everyone in advance for your time!


Edited by 3870x2 - 1/10/13 at 7:28am
post #2 of 9

With your budget constraints you are going to be very hard pressed to find that combination of equipment.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Well, I guess the budget was what I would have been willing to pay.  What I can pay is probably up to $300.

 

Remember that this doesn't have to be a large system.

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3870x2 View Post

Remember that this doesn't have to be a large system.

Tube-driven anything is going to cost a premium, its a niche. Trying to do it on a budget is going in with the wrong mindset, you'd be better off with a nice solid state amp. A mid-end SS unit will sound better than a low-end Tube unit.
post #5 of 9
+1 it's an expensive hobby. There are deals to be had though. Used is a great way to go and to get started. GL
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3870x2 View Post

Well, I guess the budget was what I would have been willing to pay.  What I can pay is probably up to $300.

 

Remember that this doesn't have to be a large system.

Hmm, this thread might give you a heads up. Read through and you'll notice other people mentioning other budget tube amps as comparisons.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/633006/aune-t1-usb-tube-dac-amp-discussion-thread

 

Very best.

post #7 of 9

Greyson talks sense

 

no point buying a cheap valve amp, just problems and poor sound.

 

have a look at something like the Audioengine D1, I assume your source is a PC ?

 

if not....

 

what is your source? and speakers?, impossible to answer properly without that really.

 

I wouldn't worry about it having a 3.5mm input, you can adapt that.

 

If you have analogue only sources then I'd look at the Denon compact all in ones 

like this Denon RCD-M39

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Denon-RCD-M39DAB-Component-Receiver-System/dp/B008JCIKQC/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1357919918&sr=1-1

 

 

I have a 10 year old Denon Dm31 in my kitchen, takes serious abuse and never complains, killer build quality for the money

post #8 of 9

As others have said, tube amplifiers are something one must prepare for. If you want a "budget" tube hybrid, consider the HiFiMAN EF2A amplifier (use an external DAC solution). It's a notable system and has proven worth it when paired correctly with the "right" headphone. I currently use it in my current headphone setup with the NOS Mullard CV4010 tubes.

Headphone listening with the Beyerdynamic DT 990/600Ω.

 

Destroysall.

post #9 of 9

Move to Columbus, Ohio and bask in the glory of vinyl heaven

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